view of the Temple of Minerva in the middle of the park with stone columns a central pathway and the Catalpa tree standing beside it

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Sydney Gardens is one of Britain’s best remaining Georgian Pleasure Gardens.

It opened in 1795 and was a favourite spot of Jane Austen. Now it is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike as a respite from the busyness of central Bath - it is a short walk from the city centre and situated behind the Holburne Museum.

The park is an ideal place for a picnic or a dog walk, and has direct access onto the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Great Western Railway also runs through Sydney Gardens making it an ideal place for trainspotting.  You can watch canal boats and trains passing through, spend time with the beautiful historic trees, explore the central promenade and its listed buildings including the Loggia, an original feature of the 18th Century Gardens, and the Temple of Minerva which was added in the early 20th Century.

Find out about the Pleasure Garden in the past.

Follow our mobile friendly trails - Jane Austen in Sydney Gardens, the Heritage and History of Sydney Gardens and Trees of Sydney Gardens.

Find out about the Sydney Gardens Tree Weekender and Writing Competition.

Events and Activities - details and bookings for our participatory programme.

Sydney Gardening - all about our volunteer gardening session and training opportunities.

Go to our Medium blog site full of short articles, indepth reads and people's memories of Sydney Gardens.

Read about the exciting find of a rare Roman sarcophagus in the park in May 2021.

Read our latest e-news - October 2021

Read past issues of our e-newsletters

Sydney Gardens is currently undergoing a park restoration project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and B&NES Council. Construction began in August and will continue until the end of 2021.

Please help us keep everyone safe by following the instructions of our contractors and staying out of fenced off areas.

Some areas of the park are closed to the public during the works.  Occasionally we need to close some entrances without warning for vehicle movements and deliveries. The entrance into the park from the Kennet and Avon Canal will be closed from early November 2021 for a few weeks to allow a new ramped entrance to be installed - a diversion will be put in place.

What facilities are there?

  • Lawns to play on, including a felled London Plane Tree Trunk to climb on.

  • Children’s Play Area is closed. The nearest play areas are Widcombe BA2 4JN (12 mins walk from Sydney Gardens) or Hedgemead BA1 5NB (17 mins walk).  A new multi-age play and sport area is under construction and will be opening in winter 2021.

  • Public Toilets are currently closed and replaced by a Portaloo nearby - it is free of charge but closed overnight. A new Changing Places facility is being installed in Sydney Gardens, opening in the Autumn of 21.

  • Tennis courts - the two courts at the top of the park are open for play. New (solar-powered) gates have been installed. The Tennis Courts operate on a bookable system through Tennis@thepark: £6 per hour for Pay and Play, with Family Membership available for £40 per year, £30 Concessions. The lower three tennis courts have been closed to create the construction compound and will re-open as two full size courts on completion of the build at the end of 2021. 
  • Petanque - new petanque courts have been created in the park by the Bathwick Street entrance. Anyone can turn up and play and use of the court is free.  If any club wants to hold an event or tournament, they will need to reserve it through B&NES Events and will be charged the standard booking fee for hiring Boules Terrains (as per Queens Square for example). When a booked event is on, the area will be only available for use by the hirer. Please be aware the petanque area is still being landscaped, so take care moving around that area. We are planning to include a board with information about using the petanque court in the winter.

Sydney Gardens Park Restoration Project

In February 2019 we were successful in our Round 2 application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund with a £2.7 million grant. We have secured a total of £3.4 million of funding to improve the historic park. Find out more about the Sydney Gardens National Lottery Heritage Lottery Funded Project.

The funding is being used to restore historic buildings, invest in landscaping works, renovate the play area for use by people of all ages and create new gardens alongside a programme of events and activities. The project will celebrate the fascinating history of the gardens, with its Cosmorama, Labyrinth, Merlins Swing, Concerts, Public Breakfasts, Galas and Illuminations.

Our project started the 3 year Delivery Phase on 1st February 2019.  The Covid-19 pandemic has affected our programme, delaying the start of our restoration project by 6 months and we anticipate it will continue to affect our schedule.  We are aiming to complete works by the end of 2021. 

2019: Detailed technical design, programming of works, with public events, activities, training and volunteering.

2020: Delivery of restoration, building works and landscaping, volunteering, training, and designing interpretation.

2021: Continued delivery of the restoration and build with accompanying volunteer and training programme, activities and partnership events.

March 2022: Completion of the project.

What is happening now?

Our build and conservation project started in August 2020 and will continue for over a year until the end of 2021. Our appointed site contractors are:

  • Edgar Builders for the Main Works Contract including the Community Pavilion, The Bothy, Tennis courts, and new Play area with Parsons Landscapes as the subcontractor for landscaping works.
  • Sally Strachey Historic Conservation for the Conservation Works Contract for restoration of the Loggia, Temple of Minerva, Ruin (in the former depot area), and Kiosk, with IronArt Bath as a subcontractor doing the Ironwork Edwardian and 1920s WCs.

Find out more about the restoration programme and the updates to the project.

Activities, events and volunteering in Sydney Gardens

We are running activities for people of all ages and needs over our three year project from 2019 to 2022.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we cancelled all our public activities that we had planned from March 2020. We have redesigned some of our activities, training and volunteering to be delivered online or in smaller groups, and we will continue to do this in response to government guidance. We restarted our revised activity programme in the Spring of 2021.

Read our latest e-news - October 2021

Read past issues of our e-newsletters.

 

Get involved and keep in touch

Sign up to our mailing list to hear about upcoming events and activities, project update and about consultation events.

Contact our Community Ranger Sue Palmer with any comments or questions.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Read fascinating stories from Sydney Gardens on our Medium blog

Join the Friends of Sydney Gardens and support your local park

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